The Heiva i Tahiti in a few words

The Heiva i Tahiti, established in 1881, is one of the oldest festivals in the Pacific and even in the world. Today, Polynesians from all the archipelagos eagerly expect this cultural each year. A lively show, mixing language, music, ‘ori tahiti and hīmene, inviting us to tell our traditions and legends.

As is customary, a rāhiri will open this festival. A moment of exchange that allows the group leaders and jury members to commit to mutual respect. This takes the form of each representative laying a banana plant leaf before the jury.

Below is a short text that summarizes this rite that has been adapted for the Heiva i Tahiti:

Te rāhiri i te heiva

Tū mai nei tatou i To’atā                                      Here we all are in To’atā

‘Ei ti’a nō terā pupu hīmene                                 Each member representing a song group   

terā pupu ‘ori                                                A dance group   

‘Ei tōmite hi’opo’a                                              One member of the jury   

Hafa’i mai te rau mei’a                                        Holding a banana plant leaf         

‘Ei rāhiri i teie heiva                                           to sign their participation in this Heiva      

‘Ei pū nō te ha’amata                                         The conch sounds the beginning

‘Ei pahu nō te fa’a’ara’ara                                  The pahu accompanies the process

‘Ia oti e tu’u i te rau mei’a                                   Afterwards, everyone puts their own leaf

I ni’a i te peruvai o To’atā                                   Down on the To’atā stage                                  

‘Ei pū nō te fa’aoti !                                           The conch sounds the end!

‘Ei hei nō te tura                                                The crown marks the honour

‘Ei vā nō te vāeatua                                            The competition is dedicated to the gods

‘Ia heiva te heiva !                                             Let the Heiva be open

‘Ia hura te hura !                                                Let dance become dance!

Throughout this Heiva i Tahiti, you will hear different words, so here is a small glossary:

Hura tau :professional” dance groups, i.e. those who have already won the 1st prize in the Hura ava tau category.

Hura ava tau : so-called « amateur » dance groups, i.e. those that have not yet won 1st prize in their category.

Tārava : A polyphonic song of seven stanzas praising the beauties of a district, telling legends or simply everyday life. It is sung differently depending on its geographical origin.

Tārava Tahiti : song related to the island of Tahiti.

Tārava Raromata’i : song related to the Leeward Islands.

Tārava Tuha’a pa’e : song related to the Australes archipelago.

‘Ori : dance – to dance

Hīmene : song – to sing

New rules and jury for 2022 Heiva i Tahiti

New rules

As a result of the discussions held with the song and dance groups over the last few years, it has become apparent that the rules of the Heiva i Tahiti needed to be reviewed.

Indeed, these rules, having been little modified for several years, no longer correspond to the expectations and requirements of group leaders.

The health crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, which led to the cancellation of the the 2020 Heiva i Tahiti, led Te Fare Tauhiti Nui to undertake a profound reflection on these documents in consultation with all the actors concerned. At the instigation of the Ministry of Culture, the Establishment has surrounded itself with a committee of recognised personalities in song and dance, including Myrna TUPORO known as “Mama Iopa”, Manouche LEHARTEL, Vaihere CADOUSTEAU and Moana’ura TEHEI’URA.

Thus, for more than a year, work was carried out with the groups to propose a version of the rules that suits everyone and remains faithful to the values of our Heiva i Tahiti. Beyond that, the main objective is to allow a better readability of these elements.

2022 Heiva i Tahiti jury

The jury for this 2022 edition, elected by the group leaders, is composed of 9 personalities from the world of Polynesian culture. This year it is chaired by Manouche LEHARTEL, member of the jury dedicated to ‘ori Tahiti, and will award 51 prizes in all categories, for a total amount of XPF 9,250,000.


Here is the jury and a few words to introduce them.

Jury for traditional dances:

Manouche LEHARTEL (Chair of the jury) 

Throughout her career, Manouche LEHARTEL has held various positions: director of the Tahiti and her Islands Museum, artistic director for numerous events, and judge for various competitions. Recently, she contributed to the rewriting of the rules of the Heiva i Tahiti and was appointed as dance expert and chair of this jury for the 2022 Heiva i Tahiti.

Jean-Marie BIRET 

Jean-Marie BIRET is a dancer and choreographer. He has evolved within many prestigious groups before forming his own troupe Manahau Tahiti. This is the fourth time he has been called upon to be a member of the Heiva i Tahiti jury.


Since 2007, Tuarii TRACQUI has participated in the Heiva i Tahiti with various renowned groups and was elected best dancer in 2012. Gold medalist of the Artistic Conservatory in traditional dance, he teaches the ‘ori Tahiti, performs and judges competitions abroad. This is the first time he is a judge for the Heiva i Tahiti.


Victor TERIITAHI, who was awarded the prize for best ra’atira’a ti’ati’a at the 2011 Heiva i Tahiti, has been dancing for more than 25 years in several renowned troupes. He is also a choreographer and performer. He has already been a member of the jury three times.

Jury for traditional songs

Dayna TAVAEARII (vice president of the jury) 

Dayna TEVAEARII discovered singing in church. She participated in her first Heiva i Tahiti in 1995. Since then, she has excelled in this art and now wishes to pass it on by giving talks in schools and through her school.


Mélia TAVITA AVAE is an artisan who excels in weaving and basketry. She is also a great lady of traditional singing. She has been a member of the Heiva i Tahiti jury several times.


Frédo TIHONI has excelled in the field of singing for several years. He has participated in several Heiva i Tahiti and has won numerous prizes. This is the second time that Frédo is a member of the Heiva i Tahiti jury.

Jury for music and song compositions


Poehei TEIMAIANA was immersed in Polynesian music from an early age. He excelled in numerous groups before taking over the direction of the Arata’i traditional percussion school founded by his father, the famous Papi Teupoo. Poehei has been a member of the jury several times.

Jury for writing


Tonyo TOOMARU is a member of the Heiva i Tahiti jury for the first time. He is a professor of Tahitian at the University of Polynesia and at INSPE. He has participated many times in the Heiva i Tahiti as an artist (dancer, singer or author) in singing and dancing groups.



Zone 1: XPF 3,500 Fcfp

Zone 2: XPF 3,000 Fcfp

Lateral stands:

XPF 2,000



XPF 4,000

Lateral stands:

XPF 2,500 Fcfp

Competition and Winners’ evenings:

Free for children under 2 years of age on presentation of a “baby” ticket

PRM: XPF 500 – Accompanying person (1 Accompanying person per PRM) : XPF 1,000

Tickets on sale online at and at the Maison de la Culture (Monday to Thursday from 8.00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday from 8.00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on show nights: 1h30 before the start of the show).

Tickets information: +689 40 544 548 / +689 40 544 544 / Facebook : Heiva i Tahiti Officiel